bernardWhat industry do you work in and what exactly are your skills?

 I am working within the construction / mining industry and am confident in several positions from Workshop Manager, Mechanical Foreman to Quarry Manager

What inspired you to get into this sort of industry?

I am a hand on guy with a strong technical aptitude and love trouble shooting and problem solving. Working on mechanical equipment, this industry is my playground where I can perform to the best of my abilities!

What qualifications and experience did you have to gain In order to establish yourself and therefore become a professional within your industry?

I qualified as a Petrol / Diesel Mechanic through the SA Air force and brings with me 15 years of experience in this field.  I can confidently work from a small LDV to big earth moving equipment and crushing plant.  I was privileged to learn from good seniors and obviously trial and error!

What is the most challenging aspect within your field of work?

Time is money.  No job can afford unnecessary breakdown time. The most challenging aspect of my work is to identify the problem and solve the problem in as little as possible time to prevent the job from standing still on breakdown time.  Applying preventative maintenance as far as I go.  I would also add to that the motivation of the team I am responsible for to work fast, accurate and efficient – which sometimes becomes a bigger challenge in Africa.

How do you manage and overcome these challenges?

Identify the problem.  Look at the remedies and the cost implication to it.  Choose plan of action and implement.  Oversee carrying out of job in the most cost effective way.

What has been the highlight of your career?

To be part of the Guarani Project in SA was quite an achievement.  I experienced a great sense of accomplishment when on completion of the train, I took my first ride – knowing that I have been part of the project and contributed towards it.

If somebody starts as a trainee / beginner within your line of work, what could they earn in salary?

I suppose an apprentice can earn approximately R4000 – R5000 per month.

What can this person expect to earn after 10 years of experience?

Looking at current positions advertised, a regular mechanic can earn up to R30 000, depending on skills, experience and qualifications.  

Who is your role model and why?

Angus Buchan sets a great example in modern day life of whom and what we are supposed to be like.  He started out as a farmer, who proved that by persistence, endurance, belief and hard work, you can reach your full potential and become a better person in yourself and towards others.

What motivates you to work this hard?  I am driven by positive results and achievement.  That gives me job satisfaction and motivates me to work hard.  Discipline and integrity also plays a big role.  Once you take a job on, you complete it as best as you can – that says everything about you. 

What is your outlook within your industry over the next 5 years?

There should always be a challenge to keep one going.  I belief things will become even more challenging.  With raising unemployment figures, one should aspire to be the best in your job.  There are a lot of projects starting up everywhere in this industry and by working hard and going the extra mile; you can be a valuable asset to a company.

As you know, numerous African countries are being invested in due to their rich minerals. Which country within Africa do you think will be the next hot spot and why?

Mozambique is big news lately with all the developments, new mines etc.  Due to all the mining and construction development there, the rest of the industry also flourishes. Botswana and Namibia should not be left out of the argument.  They experience political stability and there is a stable growth in their economy.  Good signs that we might hear from them more in future!

 You can view Barnard’s LinkedIn here:

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